As a person involved in government affairs (lobbying), I travel to many parts of the state to meet and listen to public officials. I recently attended a meeting of the Westchester Business Council at which the county executives from Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties spoke about their current challenges. A nearby friend commented to me that Laura Curran, the Nassau leader, “would probably make a good governor.”
That fleeting moment caused me to reflect on the history of county executives in our region. Nassau County has had nine county executives. I was much too young to know J. Russel Sprague or A. Holly Patterson, although I did meet Patterson during my entry years in politics.
I have personally known seven of them starting with Eugene Nickerson and the rest up to Laura Curran.
Laura Curran is the first woman county executive and although it is only about a year and nine months since she took office, it does seem like she is a veteran, because of the fact that she has so smoothly taken over one of the toughest jobs in the state. I am not saying that her time in office has been easy considering that she has had to deal with such issues as property assessments, union contracts and the opioid epidemic.
Every one of her predecessors had a different style while in office. Some were bean counters always looking to cut costs and talk later. Others were of the traditional political mold focusing on getting the streets plowed during a snowstorm and taking care of the party faithful with jobs, jobs and more jobs. Laura is different. Perhaps because she was a reporter she asks questions of her staff and seeks outside opinions. She has no problem speaking at public functions and you get a sense that she really cares when she talks about topics that would make the average citizen yawn.
If you took an inventory of women office holders around the state, you would find that there are very few who have been promoted by their political parties, which is their community’s loss. Laura still has a few years to prove that she can deal with all of the issues that a modern day leader must face. But she goes about the job of running a county with over one million residents, in a professional and friendly manner.
Maybe my friend at the Westchester breakfast was on to something when he saw Laura Curran as a future governor. From my standpoint for now, she is doing an excellent job of running the show without resorting to daily tweets. So far Laura, so good.
Former State Assemblyman Jerry Kremer is a columnist for Long Island Weekly and partner at Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.